Yannick Bisson catches bad guys as the Victorian-era Toronto detective William Murdoch in the Murdoch Mysteries. But how does he tackle the real-life case of the three teenage daughters? With help from his wife, actor/writer Chantal Craig, of course.
Q. What has been the biggest surprise of parenthood?
Yannick Bisson: That the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) system applies. Sounds crazy but keeping it simple has worked out best. If a rule was made and a consequence was given we always followed through and I think the girls thrived because of it. Simple on our part as well, we only had three deal breakers for the kids; don’t disrespect, don’t disobey and don’t lie.
Chantal Craig: How much I’d be willing to put myself aside. Nothing has given me greater joy than participating in their lives and interests. When they were little I spent hours watching them during horseback riding lessons, figure skating or gymnastics classes. Now that the girls are older I realize how much I miss those simpler moments of being a parent.
Q. Which one of you is the disciplinarian?
YB: I’d say Chantal is alert to more of what needs to be addressed with the girls. That said, each girl has different things or traits that cause triggers for us. Sometimes I have to stop and figure out if it’s just a personality thing or does something really need to be corrected.
CC: It depends on which daughter you’re talking about. I fi nd that I’m more of a disciplinarian with Brianna, our eldest; I don’t let as much slide with her as I do with our middle girl Dominique. Mikaela, our youngest, has this amazing moral compass of her own – or she’s just super bright and watched her older sisters get in enough trouble so she knew we meant business. She keeps her nose pretty clean for a teenager.
Q. What’s your least favourite household chore?
YB: Laundry … how the heck am I supposed to know who wears what? How do you fold tights?!
CC: LAUNDRY, hands down. Too many bras and panties that are all the same size! Plus the girls swap clothes so often I can’t remember which sweaters and T-shirts actually belong to which daughter!
Q. What’s your partner’s least favourite household chore?
YB: Chantal is a terrific cook but she HATES doing it!
CC: Yannick’s least favourite chore is EVERY INDOOR CHORE. He’d way rather be riding his bike than stuck inside doing chores.
Q. How do your kids drives you crazy?
YB: Social media – Twitter, Tumbler, Facebook etc. The girls bring so much of it into the house, it’s maddening. What they don’t seem to realize is that they’re being advertised to every step of the way and that drives me crazy.
CC: Fake bicker. Dominique and Mikaela “pretend” to be annoyed with one another – they think it’s hilarious but it makes me crazy. I’m a neat freak so Brianna’s super-cluttered, disorganized room makes me absolutely crazy. I just keep her door closed 99 percent of the time. Something they have in common that makes me crazy is that they watch too much reality television. As a writer it makes my skin crawl that they prefer watching mindless, fake programming instead of quality, interesting shows.
Q. What do your kids do that makes you laugh?
YB: They do dog dialogue. They’ve given each of our three dogs a certain voice and they banter on behalf of our dogs all day long. Don’t judge, it’s really funny.
CC: This is tough to answer. Our girls have such incredible senses of humour that as a family we really spend so much time laughing. They really are my favourite people to spend my time with.
Originally published in ParentsCanada, April 2012